I love to read. I really love to read. I always have loved reading. Since I was a child I have always gotten excited at the prospect of beginning a new book. I daydream about books and sometimes I even dream about them.
Thus I am starting this blog. I want to begin a record chronicling my thoughts on the various works that I complete. Along the way I may throw in some random musing about society, politics, current events, etc.
Though my tastes have matured, reading is the one hobby that I have consistently stuck with since childhood. I am not an expert in most of the subjects that I read about. My greatest qualification is that I am an insatiably curious person.
So why do I read so much? What should people get out of reading? The answer is different for all individuals. For me, this is a quest. I am trying to piece together and understand the world. I am SO very interested in human thought, human history and human culture. After these “people” interests, the natural world also holds immense fascinations for me.
As I love serious literature, history, science, business and other subjects, I can be described as a generalist. However I do believe that everyone should have at least one area that they concentrate upon. So for me, it is the history of Revolutionary era America. I make a conscious effort to read about one third to one half of my history in this area. A little bit of specialization never hurt!
One question, repeated over and over again for me, and ultimately related to why I read, and is simply: what to read next? Over the last few years I have been somewhat careful about what books to tackle. There is so little time! In several of his books, Harold Bloom emphasizes the point that if the average human lifespan is about 70 years, one would barely make it thorough Bloom’s own of the Western Cannona list of fiction and philosophy that among other things, Bloom believes are worth reading. When I peruse the list of works contained in Bloom’s Cannon, there is scarcely anything listed that I would not want to read. Compounding my problem is that there are lots of works not on the Cannon that I also want to devour. These include many works of fiction, that perhaps Bloom would not approve of. In addition I am an avid reader of History. Then there are other fascinating branches of Non Fiction including science and business. I also cannot fail to mention rereading. This could take over a thousand years! Wasting time on unworthy tomes is a luxury that I do not have.
Over the past few years I have alleviating the problem just a little. As I do run and work out regularly, I find myself often hooked up to headphones. Thus, I have discovered audiobooks! Of course I need to be choosy as what to “read” this way. I would not tackle something as dense as Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity's Rainbow via spoken word. However, for many history books, or even some fiction with accessible prose, recorded books are nice way for me to add “book time” to my life. Audiobooks not withstanding, the vast array of titles that I am interested in, are overwhelming.
So here we go, happy reading everyone!